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September 22, 2008
Team USA Takes the 2008 Ryder Cup
"Congratulations to team USA on it's inspiring victory at Valhalla." said Arnold Palmer. The final tally read: U.S. 16 ½, Europe 11 ½. It was the largest margin of victory for the U.S. since an 18 ½ - 9 ½ thumping of the Europeans at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.
Posted by scurry at 04:23 PM
September 19, 2008
Arnold Palmer's Guide to the Ryder Cup 2008
Rarely has a Ryder Cup been more eagerly awaited than the 37th version of this 81-year-old series which tees off in earnest on the morning of Friday 19 September.
Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky, where two PGA Championships have been staged over the past dozen years, is the venue for this imminent biennial contest between the best male professional golfers from the United States and Europe.
Enjoy the Arnold Palmer foreward and interview from this years guide or visit the official Ryder Cup website.
Posted by scurry at 12:42 PM
THE KING ON THE CUP
Fresh off a design visit to White Oak Plantation in Tryon, North Carolina, where he relaxed with back-to-back major winner Padraig Harrington, Arnold Palmer was feeling expansive. With his dog Mulligan, as always, by his side, Palmer talked at length about the impending 2008 Ryder Cup with correspondent Chris Rodell. Palmer's Ryder Cup record of 22-8-2 in Ryder Cup play remains one of the top records ever in the vaunted competition.
Q: Tell us about the 1967 Ryder Cup at Houston's Champion's Club - you did a little low altitude reconnaissance over the Champion's Club?
Arnold Palmer: It was in my Jet Commander. I got a call and had to explain to the FAA what I did. I didn't really violate any aviation rules, but I was low enough that I scared some cattle. I had the whole British team on board with me at the time. They all threw up.
Q: The Euros have so much exuberant camaraderie and when the Americans try to duplicate it they come off looking stiff. What would you advise to get them to loosen up?
AP: The European team spends a lot of time traveling together on the European tour. They stay at the same hotels and they have a camaraderie that comes from the nature of the travel. It puts them together and consequently they all become buddies and friends. They know each other. The American guys are less inclined to travel together. They usually fly airplanes to the tournaments. They're not put in any atmosphere where they are together constantly, as the European team is. It keeps the Americans from ever getting really close. It's not something that's planned. It's just the nature of the beast.
It's tough. They can make an effort to get together and play together, and that would help their attitude as far as competitiveness is concerned.
Q: What is it about the Ryder Cup that causes some players like Colin Montgomerie to become so surprisingly dominant when they can't seem to close in the big ones during medal play? Would you pick him for your team?
AP: I know Colin, but I don't know him well enough to forecast his nature. He's certainly played will in the Ryder Cup and has played well in general for a lot of years. I'd sure pick him for the team. He's a player of great renown and has proven he has the ability to compete at the top level at the Ryder Cup.
Q: There has been some talk that the Ryder Cup might stretch to four days of competition and adopt the Presidents Cup format. Would you agree with this?
AP: If four days would be better, then that's fine. I suppose that would have to be determined by the officials and the networks. I think the galleries would support it.
Q: Paul Azinger was expected to set up Valhalla to suit a long-hitting American team. But with the likes of Justin Leonard and Ben Curtis among the eight automatic qualifiers, should he re-think that strategy?
AP: I think Justin and Ben are good enough players that they can handle any situation on any length golf course.
Q: What effect will the absence of Tiger Woods have on the Ryder Cup?
AP: It certainly is a downer, but on the other hand I could take a positive attitude and say the other players will spine up and show they have the ability to carry the flag without him.
Q: Do you believe Padraig Harrington's back-to-back majors will give the European team any significant boost?
AP: I don't think it's going to make a great deal of difference. Having won three majors in the last year is certainly a positive. I talked to him the other day and he's certainly a very nice young man. I give him all the due I can, but I don't think winning any major will have any influence at the Ryder Cup. I'd met him before, but didn't get to spend as much time with him as I did the past days. I got him to commit to playing Bay Hill and I'm very pleased about that. And it didn't take a bit of arm twisting. He was very, very willing to tell me he'd be at Bay Hill, and we'll be glad to have him.
Q: Padraig's an investor at White Oak. How's that course coming along?
AP: He's going to have a house there. It's an Irish property owned by the famous Irish rally car racer Austin McHale. It's in the North Carolina foothills with a lot of stones and streams. It's very attractive. They've done a very fine job. We're all very enthused with how White Oak's going to turn out.
Q: When he lost to Harrington at last year's Open, it took Sergio Garcia the best part of nine months to rediscover his form and confidence. How long will it take him to recover from this latest disappointment and will the Ryder Cup help in that respect?
AP: I think he'll do very well. I think Sergio's a great player. Some guys, it just takes a little longer. I was one of them. I was older when I started winning. I think Sergio has a great chance to be an outstanding player as time goes on. I think he needs to just slow down and really get to it, and I think that's going to happen.
Q: How big an advantage is it to have the Ryder played in your home country?
AP: Not much. I think most of the guys who play on either side have enough experience to understand the circumstances. They're veterans or they wouldn't be on the team. The crowds won't affect them.
Q: What will you be doing during the week of the Ryder Cup?
AP: I'll certainly watch it and I'll certainly be very interested in it. I've toned down my travel and am going to fewer events unless I've been asked participate in a charity event. I'm really becoming more of a homebody and not traveling so much. I've been enjoying watching the Olympics, too. I think those two American gals that won the gymnastics gold and silver are really attractive and are wonderful athletes. It's been fun to watch.
Q: What ingredients does a course need to be a Ryder course?
AP: Heritage and tradition are certainly important, but I don't think things like that matter much to the audiences. I don't think an older golf course with lots of heritage and tradition is going to make a difference when it comes to playing the matches.
Q: Are there any courses you are currently constructing that could be future Ryder Cup venues?
AP: I think all of them would be outstanding venues. Some would be less likely to host because of the venue or the surroundings wouldn't be appropriate, but we've built some great quality courses that would be outstanding for Ryder Cup purposes.
Q: Which was harder to arrange, persuading the PGA of America to stage the 1975 event at Laurel Valley, or helping your course at The K Club become the host venue in 2006?
AP: In each case, it required an effort that I was more than happy to make. I was very pleased to have the world see the Ryder Cup at the K Club and participate in it. And even though I wanted the Americans to win and they didn't, I think it was extremely successful. Same with Laurel Valley with the opposite outcome where I was pleased to be the captain and have it at my club, which is something that doesn't happen very often.
Q: Golf is, for the most part, an individual's sport. How does a Ryder captain build a team dynamic?
AP: Sometimes I think we talk too much publicly. I think we need to deal with the individuals on a more private basis. The hype for the Ryder Cup is very important and it's important for the press to get enough to do their big stories. But I also think it's important for the players to have a confidence among themselves. And, more importantly, they have to have the confidence, the knowledge and the feeling that they can win. If they go with the attitude that they're the underdogs and are not as good as the opposing team then they're in trouble and I think that's been the case as of late.
Q: You were the last playing captain of the U.S. team, are there any current players that you think could fulfill that dual duty, or is the modern captain's role just too large a job?
AP: I'd like to think there's still room for a playing captain. I think it adds a little intrigue to the matches. I'd like to see Paul Azinger play his way onto the team. I think that would be wonderful. And I think that would certainly be possible. Most of the recent captains have been in the twilight years of their PGA Tour careers, but I'd like to see it happen again someday with a younger captain.
Q: This year Azinger has four picks. Do you think that makes his job easier or more difficult?
AP: I think it gives him more of an opportunity to select guys that he knows are hot and are playing very well. I suppose I would consider that a plus.
Q: What's the off-course Ryder Cup experience like for the teams? Do you think it's changed from when you were playing, and if it has, then how?
AP: I enjoyed watching the guys and encouraging them. I wanted to be there to add some confidence to their mind set to help pull them together. That was important to me, to get all the guys in a frame of mind where they were really starting good and could keep that momentum going. I'm sure that still goes on.
Q: How was it possible that you won The Masters in 1958 (and several other tournaments) but weren't selected for the 1959 Ryder Cup team?
AP: I wasn't earning points because I wasn't a PGA member. I was still in my apprentice period and back then that lasted for five years. They changed all the rules right away after that, but it was too late for '59. Had that same system been in place in 1997, neither Tiger Woods nor Justin Leonard would have qualified to play at Valderama.
Q: What was you worst Ryder Cup moment?
AP: (ponders) I don't know that I'd ever had a worst moment at the Ryder Cup. Every team I played on won. I didn't like losing, but when I did lose matches to Peter Oosterhuis or Peter Allis, with whom I had some great matches, it was after I'd done my best. And sometimes that's going to happen.
Q: What was your greatest Ryder Cup moment?
AP: The first Ryder Cup I played on when they played 'God Save the Queen' and 'The Star-Spangled Banner' were certainly touching moments. I was very proud. Then there was the time in '67 on Hogan's team where Julius Boros and I were getting trounced in a four-ball against Hugh Boyle and George Will. I looked up and saw Jackie Burke. He said, 'Well, Palmer. Let me see you get out of this one.' I said, 'C'mon, Jackie, give me a break.' He says, 'I'll give you a break. I've heard about all your charges. If you win this match I'll hand make you a beautiful clock.' Well, that clock's sitting on the shelf in my workshop over there. That was special.
Q: Who was your toughest ever opponent in all the Ryder Cups in which you played, and why?
AP: I think they're all tough. Anyone who earns his way onto the Ryder Cup is good and capable of kicking anybody's rear at some point or another.
Q: If you could re-play one shot from your prestigious Ryder Cup history, which one would it be and why?
AP: No, I can't think of a single shot that had me saying, 'Gee, I'd love to have that one back.' That would really take some very deep thought and that kind of deep thought isn't there anymore (laughs).
Q: Who do you think will win at Valhalla, and why?
AP: I think it's a toss-up. It's going to be tough. I suppose if I had to give one team an edge, I'd give it to the European team. Both teams have some very fine players, but the Europeans have some players with the real hot hand and will be difficult to beat.
Posted by scurry at 07:37 AM
September 18, 2008
Arnold Palmer Forward to the 2008 Ryder Cup
Courtesy of Victory at Valhalla Arnold Palmer's Guide to the Ryder Cup 2008
THE RYDER CUP has been a marvelous event over more than eight decades, and it particularly pleases me that its prestige on both sides of the Atlantic continues to grow. It is now without question one of the most important occasions, not just in golf but the whole of sport.
Unfortunately, the U.S. team has been on the receiving end of some sound beatings during our past three encounters with Europe and all patriotic American golf fans, including myself, are keeping fingers crossed that fortunes will be reversed at Valhalla.
The absence of Tiger Woods, will be a blow to captain Paul Azinger––but the Ryder Cup is a team event and if his team-mates rally round, pull together and play the course they can emerge victorious. Each one of them is going to have to stand up and be counted.
Quite a few rookies will be turning out for the U.S. this time and I think that can only be a good thing. Some of them may be inexperienced, but playing without fear will be the key in the pressure-cooker arena of Valhalla.
It is quite clear we can expect another strong display from the Europeans. I have been particularly impressed by Padraig Harrington, but there have been some other standout performances this season from the likes of Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. It's going to take quite and effort from our Americans if they are to regain Sam Ryder's iconic trophy.
Some of my fondest golfing memories are from the Ryder Cup, both as a player and as a captain, and it was therefore a matter of considerable pride that the 2006 matches were staged over the Palmer Course at The K Club near Dublin. Despite the weather––and they had plenty of it that week––the course held up well and delivered a memorable, if ultimately one-sided spectacle.
Enjoy this magazine. I hope it provides you with an insight into the event, its history and the players, and prove to be a useful companion to the three days of the Ryder Cup.
I hope that in terms of the quality of golf and the ethics of fair play that the 37th installment in this historic series lives up to the standards set by so many of its predecessors.
Whatever the result, my fervent wish is for the game of golf to be deemed the winner.
~ Arnold Palmer
Posted by scurry at 09:30 AM
September 03, 2008
EXCITEMENT IS THEME AS TICKET SALES START FOR 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard
With its latest dates ever – two weeks before the Masters – expectations are high as ticket
sales begin today for the 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
The API will be played on the week of March 23-29, the same slot on the PGA Tour
schedule occupied until two years ago by The Players Championship and last year by a
World Golf Championship event. Those tournaments attracted large numbers of highly ranked
players from the World Ranking, playing their way to Augusta.
The 2009 Masters will be on the week of April 6-12.
Tournament Director Scott Wellington said: “We have always had one of the best fields of
players in the world, according to the World Ranking, including most of the highest-ranked
players. But we believe next year we will have more depth of players who previously have
not included us on their schedules.
“We also hope we will get several more higher-ranked players.”
This will be the 31st year of the PGA Tour event which started in 1979 at Arnold Palmer’s
Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida. The latest tournament dates previously were
March 22-25, 1990, and the earliest dates were February 26-March 1, 1981.
The 2009 API ticket brochure features defending champion Tiger Woods and the theme
line for the year: “The Signature of Excitement.” – a reminder of Woods and his fist-pumping
finale in 2008, when he holed a rousing 24-foot putt on the final green to win by
one stroke. Woods posted a pair of 66s on the weekend for a 270 total, 10 under par, and
his fifth professional victory at Bay Hill.
“No one knows when Tiger will return, but with Tiger here the excitement would be over
the top. Regardless, we believe we will have one of our best fields ever,” Wellington said.
For tickets to the 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard or for more
information, log on to the tournament web site, www.arnoldpalmerinvitational.com or call
the ticket office at Bay Hill at 407-876-7774 or toll free at 1-866-764-4843. Tournament
proceeds benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital
for Women and Babies.
Posted by scurry at 12:06 PM